Digital marketing natives understand that if you’re not keeping track of what your competitors are up to, you’re fighting a lost cause. If you are unaware of the policies being used by your rivals, be it for search engine visibility, online reputation or lead acquisition, then staying proactive and maintaining the edge over them becomes impossible. There is a high possibility that you are being watched, and in order to up the ante, you must return the favor by conducting a thorough competition watch.
Competition Analysis – Why it matters?
It would be wrong to look at this purely with the sense of business rivalry, when in fact competition breakdown thrives on one critical goal – “excellence”, in the same niche that you and your rivals face off. If you want to stay on top of the game, then you need to be aware of what and how your peers are doing things, what is working for them and what is not. All that information can then be strategically deployed for better profitability, improved results and better customer experience. In short, perform competitive analysis to learn and avoid mistakes that hurt your rivals professionally.
The rivals that you might need to take inspiration from usually have better business, make more money, highly visible on search engines, and venerated within the industry. Else, why should we analyze their tactics and goals. SImple, right?
Experts have opined that competition analysis has search rankings as its best starting point, since it sheds direct light on an opponent’s popularity and market consolidation. Let’s take a detailed look at performing a measurable competitor watch.
Identify your rivals that need to be watched
Business isn’t fun with a few tidy peers playing the same game. Beating competition requires better understanding of the rival business, but prior to that you need to know the guys that are doing things well and must be monitored.
Here are the rivals that you need to identify and track.
- Long-term industry heavyweights (Ranking wise SEO optimized powerhouses).
- Emerging players with new ideas and surplus enthusiasm.
- Organic search rivals that cross-conflict with your online visibility.
- Those who aren’t currently your rivals, but in future could become one.
Keep friends near, but enemies closer. This couldn’t be more truer in the case of internet marketers. I’m certain that everybody keeps track of their key business rivalries till some extent. Internet-based rivalry is easier to monitor and identify, as you can semi-automate the process. Tools like Alexa Top Sites and SimilarWeb are really handy for short listing competitors influential to your online presence.
Shortlist and strategize your competition watch hierarchy
Competition watch becomes difficult when you see all your rivals as one. This is why I suggest breaking them into tiers as A, B, C, and so on. Obviously grade A rivals will require more intensive monitoring as compared to grade B and C competitors.
Validate your shortlisted rivals and analyze their internet market tactics, goal orientation and market capitalization. Differentiate them into categories as mentioned above, and compare them based on individual website’s ranking, traffic data and critical keyword strings that their internet marketing strategy is designed upon.
The strategy can be designed around best performing keyword results where your peers are drawing in big numbers. Social media and online reputation maneuvers are other critical areas that can be used to extrapolate and understand rival marketing tactics. Keywords can be identified and worked using SEMRush, SuggestMtrx, Ubersuggest or SEOchat, among others.
Dissect their recipe. Find the secret ingredient
Once you have accustomed yourself with your key competitors’ behavior, it’s time to dissect their system to pinpoint things that have worked or immensely bolstered their success growth. This requires astutely conducting and analyzing the competition watch data analysis, and extrapolating fine details that could used in a productive manner. The idea is to determine areas that your online presence or marketing scheme might be weak at.
- Learn about your competition’s rankings – This is pretty easy to monitor and can be done using a variety of tools, such asAuthority labs, SERPs, Positionly, etc.
- Gauge their online reputation and search visibility – Plenty of ways this could be done. My favorite tools are the MOZ ToolbarSERP overlay view,OpenSiteExplorer, CognitiveSEO and MajesticSEO for their comprehensive competitor link related data and customizable reports.
Begin introspection, comparison and beam!
Knowing your shortcomings is good for your conscience, but being aware of the chink in your competitors’ armor is something that might end up in making you gloat. Jokes apart, since now you have identified your rivals, profiled them and made notes about their weak and strong areas, the time is to start comparisons and do some introspection.
Let’s cut to the chase. The purpose is to beat the competition with competitor analysis, so dig for weak areas in your rivals’ armor and start making them your strong suits. Find vital areas that you can optimize your own website, such as the ones mentioned below-
- Keyword relevance
- Current ranking behavior
- Search volume dependent on niche
- Ranked pages and content
- Link popularity with a given domain
- Content optimization
Since your competitors could also be watching your back, it is a good idea to plan and execute things in a way that your opponents never realize what came (You, of course) and hit them.
This can be done plenty of ways.
- Rank on keywords that your rivals never thought existed.
- Find your competition’s weakness and consolidate market cap.
- Drive traffic and customers from places where your rivals could only touch the surface.
- Get influential and general public to talk about you. Nothing kills your rivals’ spirit more than good words from key industry experts and general public opinion.
- Get active on social media, doesn’t matter if you want to or not. It’s the future PR.
Given the burgeoning competition in the digital world with new players entering the field every day, getting a precise picture of the competitive landscape is troublesome. The scope for personal improvement dwells on your niche service quality, customer orientation, market trends and rivalry. The scenario gets complicated when you aspire towards maintaining an undisputed edge over rivals, which is why you need to set up a sound competition monitoring and analysis system.